Public goods and procreation
Procreation is the ultimate public goods problem. Each new child affects the welfare of many other people, and some (but not all) children produce uncompensated value that future people will enjoy. This essay addresses challenges that arise if we think of procreation and parenting as public goods. These include whether individual choices are likely to lead to a socially desirable outcome, and whether changes in laws, social norms, or access to genetic engineering and embryo selection might improve the aggregate outcome of our reproductive choices.
KeywordsPublic goods Procreation Reproductive rights Genetic enhancement Eugenics
Thanks to Allen Buchanan, Ben Dreyzen, Iskra Fileva, Geoff Childers, Michael Huemer, John McMillan, and Julian Savulescu for comments and conversations about these ideas.
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